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Education Bulletin - 7 April 2022

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Updated 7 April 2022

Important contact details


From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

This week I was most delighted to have the opportunity to visit City College Plymouth and Compton CfE Primary School, where I once again observed the learning community in action and heard education leaders' ambition of and commitment to best outcomes for learners. At Compton CfE Primary School, I was able to observe school staff's excellent work in the classrooms in the situation that schools and settings are still experiencing a high level of COVID infection and other illnesses. I would like to thank Mark Oakshott for allowing me to see some lessons in action and for his leadership that helps manage the challenging situation so well.

School White Paper and SEND/AP Green Paper

Some Headteachers have made contact to share thoughts on the White Paper and SEND Green paper. I would like to hear from as many as possible Plymouth school leaders' thinking on the development, although we are still waiting for further details on some key aspects of the White Paper. We welcome the strategic aspects of the White Paper as summarised in my last week's bulletin. However, we cannot make any informed local proposal at this stage until the Department for Education releases more detailed information on how certain suggestions would work.

Ofsted Reports on Pandemic Impacts on Education

Yesterday we had the Annual Local Authority Evaluation meeting with Ofsted. While the local authority reported to Ofsted what we had achieved in the past year as well as our challenges, the key message from the Ofsted are reflected in the second set of reports in a series looking at the pandemic's continued impact on education providers, which was published on Monday 4 April.

Based on the information gathered from 280 inspections and focus groups, the reports find that much good progress has been made across the education sector to help children and learners recover the knowledge and skills they missed out on during the pandemic.

However, amid strong signs of recovery, it's also clear that many education providers continue to face challenges, some of which could have longer-term consequences. The reports cover Early Years, Schools, Further Education and Skills as well as Prison Education.

While the reports cover a wide range and all phases of education settings, the part on Early Years in particular makes me believe that the education community will have the challenge of COVID legacy for many years to come. The report on Early Years finds that babies are learning to crawl and walk at a slower rate, while an increasing number of young children

have been left unable to understand facial expressions after having fewer opportunities to develop their social and emotional skills during the pandemic. Amanda Spielman, Ofsted's chief inspector, describes it as "lingering challenges" in her intro to the reports.

Staffing Pressure and COVID Health and Safety

COVID challenge is clearly not over. When I visited schools and other education settings in the past few weeks, what I have seen is clear evidence that there is still a huge COVID related pressure that school leaders are facing with a high level staff illness absences. In order to continually monitor the situation to inform public health and my feedback to DfE, I would like schools to report any emerging COVID situations that you have to overcome in terms of staffing shortage and the needs for partial remote learning. Please report such as emerging situation to Julie Reed via email Julie.Reed@plymouth.gov.uk. I included in today's bulletin a simple reporting form for you to use.

In the meantime, our Public Health and Health and Safety service provide schools and other education settings with updated advice in today's bulletin.

I hope you all have a well-deserved Easter break. Best regards.

Ming

 

COVID updates

The DfE has recently release advice and guidance for Health and Safety in schools, in light of removal of legislation and the consideration of the removal of COVID related guidance later this month. The full DfE guidance documentation can be found here:

Health and safety: advice for schools

You should liaise with your H&S competent person for further advice and discussion around its contents. If you are a Plymouth City Council controlled school or buy back PCC H&S services then please contact the Health and Safety Team at healthandsafety@plymouth.gov.uk for further advice and help.

In relation to public health incidents, the guidance says the following (this does not necessarily mean a separate risk assessment for COVID).

Preparation for public health incidents

Schools must comply with health and safety law and put in place proportionate control measures. Schools must regularly review and update their risk assessments, treating them as 'living documents', as the circumstances in your school and the public health advice changes. This includes having active arrangements in place to monitor whether the controls are effective and working as planned. Schools must therefore make sure that a risk assessment has been undertaken to identify the measures needed to reduce the risks from public health incidents so far as is reasonably practicable. General information on how to make a workplace secure is provided by the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) guidance on health and safety at work.

Schools should be mindful of the hierarchies of control and the approach to risk estimation and management of public health incidents as outlined in paragraph 5.1.

Webinar on Next Steps for Education and Childcare settings

If you have not seen this then we advise that you do as it is a very useful summary. Here is the link:

(154) Living with COVID - Next Steps for Education and Childcare Settings Webinar - YouTube

New warn and inform letter for post April 1

Attached is a new 'warn and inform' letter. This new warn and inform letter can be used where there is an increased number of children/students and/or staff absent from school due to symptoms of respiratory infection (includes coronavirus).

Please familiarise yourself with this as it provides advice to your families if their child develops respiratory infection including how long they should be off school.

Guidance post April 1 for schools and EY settings

This is now primarily within the area of health protection - here is the link to the updated health protection guidance to use. Reference to COVID is made where appropriate but often is included within reference to (acute) respiratory infections

Health protection in education and childcare settings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

We are expecting an updated 'Spotty Book' to be published for the south west. The Spotty Book is essentially the SW version of this guidance.

Two PDFs of posters with key messages (supporting infection, prevention and control)

These are attached to the bulletin and focus on hand hygiene and also the catch it bin it kill it message.

Top Tips ventilation (supporting infection, prevention and control

Attached information / posters. If you do not have or use these they are helpful reminders linked to ventilation as a measure to help reduce transmission of COVID19 / respiratory infections.

REMINDER: School (Primary/Secondary/ Special) Health Related Behaviour Survey (2022)

Please remember this is free for schools as it is funded through Plymouth City Council's Public Health Team. Each school receives their own confidential report. The Council receives aggregated data from all taking part and individual settings are not identifiable.

Thank you to all schools who have started / completed the Survey. The survey if undertaken needs to be completed by June 30 2022. Secondary schools focus for the survey is on years 8 and 10. Primary focus is on year 6.

With respect to Primary Schools. You received information from the School Health Education Unit in regard to the Survey in November / December. This allows you take part but it is your decision to take part. It would be great for you to do that but there is no assumption that you must.

If you would like to take part and do not have the information saved which was previously sent out to you (that sets out what to do) then email the School Health Education Unit using admin@sheu.org.uk (Subject line Primary School Plymouth) and request the information to be re-sent).

Any queries or questions in regard to the survey please contact:

Carol.Harman@plymouth.gov.uk or Dave.Schwartz@plymouth.gov.uk from Plymouth City Council Public Health Team

 

Education updates

EYFSP optional agreement trialing

The local authority shared during recent assessment training for Early Years teachers, that although external moderation of EYFSP assessments is no longer statutory, and will not be carried out by the local authority, we are offering optional EYFSP agreement trialing sessions for any teachers who would find this useful. This service will be offered to all maintained schools and those academies that have a 2022 statutory assessment agreement with Plymouth.

There will be four EYFS profile agreement trialling sessions, each held at Yealmpstone Farm Primary on the following dates:

  • Tuesday 17 May 9.30 -11.30 am
  • Tuesday 17 May 1.30 -3.30 pm
  • Thursday 19 May 9.30 -11.30 am
  • Thursday 19 May 1.30-3.30 pm

Spaces are limited to 24 teachers per session (and only 16 teachers on the final session). To book a place please email edutrain@plymouth.gov.uk.

NB: The EY Team reserve the right to cancel if we less than schools book on any one session. If any academies supported by other local authorities are not supported in this area and wish to purchase access to these sessions they should contact the EY team.

 

Health, wellbeing and safety updates

Education Update from Plymouth Safeguarding Children Partnership

Over the past few months, partners have been liaising with education colleagues to think about how we best ensure the participation of education within all partnership work. This has resulted in a number of education colleagues joining our subgroups as well as some changes to the Education Reference Group (ERG). Going forward, the ERG will be known as the Safeguarding in Education Reference Group (SERG) to reflect the focus of this group on safeguarding. We also hope to have education establishment represented either through someone from their trust or a network that they are part of. Those attending will be responsible for representing the views of those they represent and for sharing back what is discussed/agreed within that forum. Education colleagues are vital to any progress we seek to make in keeping children and young people safe in Plymouth - we hope these changes begin the process of ensuring the voice of education is much more present and heard within all the work of the partnership.

Building Support for Children, Young People and Families in Plymouth

An exciting new approach to safeguarding has been launched in Plymouth. This new approach is known as Building Support for Children, Young People & Families. It's a replacement for the old 'threshold tool' and seeks to promote a different way of working together to keep children and young people safe. There is a focus on conversations between professionals that are about understanding what would best meet the needs of children and young people as well as building upon the support that is in place, within universal services and the wider family support network. There's a document that sets out this approach, along with a short video and the option to book on a number of 1 hour workshops. There is also an updated MASH Contact (referral) form that should be used in future. All of this and more is available on the PSCP website. Thank you to all the education colleagues that took part in the development of this approach and to the school children that supplied some of the artwork for it - it's been a great example of good multi-agency working.

Message from Bridgette Price, DCO

To all education partners - I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself I am the Designated Clinical Officer (DCO) for Devon CCG predominantly working in the Plymouth area. I support the health service to make sure they are meeting the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). I help to coordinate assessments and processes where health services are involved, this could be GPs, Hospitals or Community Health Services. I play a key role in implementing and embedding SEND responsibilities for health and supporting joined up working between health services, local authorities and other SEND partners.

Don't hesitate to contact me so we can work together.

Innovative Mental Health Interventions in your secondary school

The Anna Freud Centre have been commissioned by the DfE to deliver the Education for Wellbeing programme, England's largest research trial of school-based mental health interventions. Schools who take part in the free programme will get access to a range of mental health interventions for pupils in years 7, 8 and 9, as well as a host of other benefits. Schools must apply by 30 April to be considered.

Find out more and apply

Building Support

The Building Support approach is a new way of thinking about what used to be termed 'thresholds'. It's based on working restoratively, with consent and seeking to build support for families at the earliest opportunity, in the least oppressive way we can. This approach has been agreed at every level, by all partners within Plymouth. Schools, colleges, voluntary agencies, social care, police, early years, health and everyone else are all signed up to working together, differently, to make a difference to children and young people.

The webpage with the document and links to book on the 1 hour workshop.

All 'referrals' into Gateway/MASH should now be made using the new MASH Contact form.

The Case Resolution protocol has been updated in line with the same values.

Thank you for all the hard work that goes into keeping children and young people safe in Plymouth. You do an amazing job and this new approach isn't about working any harder but about working differently. It's a really exciting opportunity to re-think the way we do things and make a difference to children, young people and families in Plymouth. Please do get in touch with any feedback you have.

Healthy relationships questionnaire

As part of our work to continue to safeguard children, we are working closely with the Together for Childhood project which aims to prevent child sexual abuse in Plymouth. The project is led by the NSPCC with over 50 active partner agencies supporting planning and delivery. One of the key activities is to ensure an increase in knowledge, resources and guidance that will support children to be safer.

Parents and carers have a crucial role to play in healthy relationships education so before activities are planned, we need to understand what is already taking place and what gaps parents and carers feel there are. We would appreciate you sharing the below link so we can reach as many parents and carers of children with SEND as possible. We are asking for surveys to be completed by the 25th April.

Sent to PSCP Board Members for distribution across all agencies/networks

Dear colleagues,

I'm pleased to share that the Building Support approach was signed off last week by strategic partners. This is a new and different way of thinking about what used to be termed 'thresholds'. It's based on working restoratively, with consent and seeking to build support for families at the earliest opportunity, in the least oppressive way we can.

This approach has been agreed at every level, by all partners within Plymouth. Schools, colleges, voluntary agencies, social care, police, early years, health and everyone else are all signed up to working together, differently, to make a difference to children and young people.

The webpage with the document and links to book on the 1 hour workshop.

All 'referrals' into Gateway/MASH should now be made using the new MASH Contact form.

The Case Resolution protocol has been updated in line with the same values.

Thank you for all the hard work that goes into keeping children and young people safe in Plymouth. You do an amazing job and this new approach isn't about working any harder but about working differently. It's a really exciting opportunity to re-think the way we do things and make a difference to children, young people and families in Plymouth. Please do get in touch with any feedback you have.

PSCP newsletter

Attached is a PSCP newsletter. Please share widely within your agencies/networks as the messages are important and applicable across the children's workforce.

This is something new we are trying as a way to share important information with a wider audience. We've focused here on learning reviews and some recent learning that has come from national reviews.

It's not a replacement for our website or for the crucial role you all play in disseminating information within your agencies - just an additional tool for some really important issues.

Ionising radiation inspections in schools

Where schools use radioactive materials as part of their learning activities, they are required to comply with the Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017 (IRR17) and seek registration from HSE.

To ensure that the risks to workers and students from radiation are managed effectively, from April 2022 HSE's radiation team will be carrying out inspections in schools who hold registration for this type of work to review compliance with IRR17.

For further information and guidance on how to manage the risks from ionising radiation, please visit The HSE's Ionising Radiation web pages.

Get more information at the following links:

Access to CLEAPSS can be purchased through Plymouth City Council's trade services under Services4Schools"

Highway Code Update

Rules for all types of road users have been updated in The Highway Code to improve the safety of people walking, cycling and riding horses. These changes will apply at work to anyone who drives for work purposes, either in commercial, PCC or personal ("grey fleet") vehicles; and also outside of work to anyone who drives and cycles, including commuting.

There are 8 changes to the Highway Code:

1.            Hierarchy of road users

2.            People crossing the road at junctions

3.            Walking, cycling or riding in shared spaces

4.            Positioning in the road when cycling

5.            Overtaking when driving or cycling

6.            People cycling at junctions

7.            People cycling, riding a horse and driving horse-drawn vehicles on roundabouts

8.            Parking, charging and leaving vehicles

Details of these, and the individual rule changes and new rules can be found on the GOV.UK website.

All employees/agency workers/ volunteers who may drive for PCC work activities should familiarise themselves with the new rules and rule updates.

 

Government updates

Package of support for vulnerable families announced which help every child gets the best possible start in life

The government has announced wide-ranging support across its flagship family programmes for those who need extra help to fulfil their potential, levelling up opportunities for children across the country. To support parents, 75 local authorities have been announced as eligible for a share of £302 million to create new Family Hubs in their areas. These hubs give parents advice on how to take care of their child and make sure they are safe and healthy - providing services including parenting and breastfeeding support.

Plymouth is one of the 75 local authorities.

Ofsted has published the second set of reports in a series looking at the pandemic's continued impact on education providers.

The reports find that good progress has been made across the education sector to help children and learners recover the knowledge and skills they missed out on during the pandemic. However, amid strong signs of recovery, it's also clear that many education providers continue to face challenges, some of which could have longer-term consequences.

Health and safety: advice for schools

Guidance to help schools understand their health and safety obligations. This guidance has been updated to remove the COVID-19 advice and updated links have been included to Health and Safety Executive's guidance and the UKHSA guidance for public health incidents.

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